Originally written July 17th, 2008
It should smell faintly like freshly cut grass, with a twinge of lemonade and cinnamon/sugar. The air should feel like a terry-cloth cloud, fresh out of the dryer, as you exit the pool. And that pool can be a community one, a backyard one, or a kiddie pool with an inflatable dinosaur head. Filling said pool with 15 bags of ice from the supermarket, 2 cases of cheap canned beer and your two feet as you read a book in a beach chair is optional.
It can smell like lightly toasted wood, as well, but only on a slight breeze that intermittently wafts in every 15-20 minutes or so. Just enough to remind you of the accompanying sweet/sour scent of lighter fluid on charcoal, of juice dripping off seared metal and sizzling, evaporating into that breeze.
It sounds percussive, like ice cubes bouncing and skating around the inside of a sweaty glass, syncopating with hi-hats and guitars and flutes and pianos from a thousand different stereos from a thousand different open windows, cutting through the low bass hum of lawnmowers and vaccuums, air-conditioners and dropped chevys, gunning engines and rattling trunks, blending with the helicopters overhead surveying us surveying ants as they pick up the crumbs from the bun of the burger that comes off the grill and onto the plate.
It feels cold to the touch like porcelain in the shade, like a leaf from a backyard tree coming to rest on the top of a flip-flopped foot. The cubes that were drumming the inside of your drink have turned to water that washes the sticky off a forehead as the glass is dragged across it. Everything clings, clothes are scotch-tape and glue, sweated through, the fan of your hand and the puff of your breath as you exhale a “whew” is the only way to wedge some air inbetween your skin and your shirt. Dead grass leaps from the cracked dirt and hitches a ride on your browned, barefoot heel. Dandelion fluff stuck to the hairs on your ankle like tufts of an old man’s hair peeking meekly over his ears.
It looks like shiny metal boxes sitting on windowsills, propped up by shelves ranging from the ornate to 2×4 planks bungee corded to the side of a weatherbeaten apartment building. Even rusted tin gleams in the summer. It looks light orange as it comes through the closed blinds, slats of light catching dust dancing. It never settles, it’s always swirling, but it’s only visible in the light leaking through the slats, reflecting off the table and the flat black of a TV screen turned off, casting just the perfect fuzzed out glow to read by.
It is quiet burbling of kids down the street dodging sprinklers oscillating over their private playground, and it is cacophony of gunpowder and cardboard, whooping and clapping. It is laughter and loud stories boiling over the back fence, it is clinking of bottles and rustling of plastic as parties are disposed of neatly and planned again. It’s christmas lights strung through reddening leaves like electronic fruit. It’s bending, liquid bands of sun skipping across the water and back into the sky like a pebble from an 8 year old on the banks of a creek that’s winding lazily through the mud somewhere in the boondocks.
It is open windows and all activity stopping simultaneously as a breeze squeezes through the squares in the screen, necks tilted back and eyelids gently closed in welcoming acceptance. The pause that refreshes, if you will. It’s bubbles and fizz racing down your throat and spicy burning gold slowly sipped and savored.
It’s sleeping under only one sheet, knowing it’s gonna be kicked off by the end of the night anyway. It’s eyelashes and soft breath on the back of your neck if you’re lucky, the cool side of the pillow if you’re less lucky, one more drink and streetlights leading you to sleep, book on your chest, or neon blue light dancing off your resting frame as pretty people in pancake makeup silently sell their 2am crap to the unconscious.
Mix for three months. Let cool. Serve in winter, for cold nights when blankets and heaters are no substitute for the warmth of pleasant memories.